Marketing Your Home Improvement Or Handyman Business

Each and every aspect of your home improvement business is important. However, if you don’t market your business with the goal to produce sales, then you won’t have a business for very long. This article will take you through the important process of marketing your business and your services to prospective customers.

A typical sales process for a home improvement or handyman business follows these steps:

  • Marketing
  • Qualifying
  • Selling
  • Getting Hiring!

These sales process steps are typical for most service type businesses. This article will discuss the first step, marketing, in greater detail.

Marketing Your Service Business: According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, marketing is defined as the process of promoting and selling a product or service. Marketing a service-based business is more difficult than selling a product. When a customer buys a product, it is tangible – something you can see, touch, or hold in ones hand, and that can usually be returned if the customer is not satisfied. With a service business, however, your customers are buying something that is intangible and once performed, not returnable. One of the greatest challenges in marketing your service business is persuading people to buy something they can’t see, smell, touch, or return. You are selling both yourself and your skills, and selling the value of the services that you and your business provide.

Marketing is the single most important skill needed to be successful in the home improvement business. It involves promoting your company and its services to both immediate and potential customers, and selling your services to those that have found you through your advertising efforts. You will also market your home improvement business by providing quality work and a high level of customer service, which will encourage repeat customers and word-of-mouth referrals.

The primary objective of your marketing efforts is to have a steady stream of current and prospective customers contacting you. Your goal is to be able to sell your services to those customers.

The words ‘marketing’ and ‘advertising’ are often used interchangeably. Advertising is one aspect of the marketing strategy that helps you promote your business in the marketplace. Various advertising strategies, as well as strategies to market a home improvement business, are available to handyman business or other service business owners. It is important to keep track of each of your strategies and have a mechanism to both review and evaluate the effectiveness of each of the strategies you employ. That way you can discard ineffective strategies and keep the ones that work to grow your business.



Source by [lakajira]

Business Factoring Offers an Easy Solution for Financing

Organizing your own small business certainly takes heart, innovation and ambition. It is not unlikely for new companies to find themselves in need of capital, and immediately. Business factoring can definitely help aid their inherent financial deficiencies.

Locating the best choices when in the market for business factoring needs a bit of due diligence, but small business factoring could really make the difference between shutting down and succeeding through tough periods.

Those in the industry of factoring have given CEOs with a great deal of funds over the last few years of economic hardship. The CEO arranges to pay a part of his credit card proceeds each day until the merchant cash advance has been paid in full. Because the payback numbers are conveniently attached to credit card processing account revenues, the total repayment capture percentage adjusts to accommodate times when the small business does good or terrible.

Unlike local lenders, independent service organizations that give merchant cash advances don't enact limitations with the path entrepreneurs use the funds that was advanced. This gives an entrepreneur significantly more flexibility about which things they choose to spend on. Surely, this also means that the lender is willing to take a larger degree of risk which they recover with potentially more expensive costs

With an acceptance percentage of up to ten times that of normal lenders, factoring agents do not need their applicants to show their personal funds or pass tough credit pulls. However, some stipulations need to be cleared. Applicants must have a sufficient sum of credit card revenues to qualify, as repayment is tied to these revenues. Merchant account statements dating back 3-12 months will be asked for and proof of at least six months in business is necessary under most circumstances.



Source by [lakajira]

3 Things You May Not Know About Managed Cloud Services

Keeping up with the technical side of business these days is a challenge that many company owners are ill-prepared for. Marketing can be a tricky endeavour if you are not up to date on the most recent technological advances in reaching audiences and customers of all kinds. With the development of the Internet at one’s fingertips, there are open opportunities for companies to advertise and promote their services. Unfortunately, many companies fall short because they do not have the ability or strategy to make sure their efforts pay off, and wind up collapsing under the pressure of the competitive market. Furthermore, security breaches can be costly and difficult to repair without the proper manpower, knowledge, and skill. It is important that business owners become more familiar with the services out there that have recently been developed to address these typical issues that companies face worldwide. One of the most helpful developments is the initiation of managed cloud services. Cloud services have become a standard for many businesses to store and access their data and company information at any given moment, from any given location.

Here are some other things you may not know about managed cloud services.

It’s not just about storage & accessibility

Firstly, cloud services do not just manage the storage and accessibility of company information. They also offer other services such as supplying companies with software via the web that are tailored to that specific company’s needs. There are neat and clean payment options that come with cloud services; sometimes it is based on a flat rate, other times it is based on the software and services that you utilize most. You should be sure to look into whatever you will use the most and how the company charges for the services. Furthermore, business owners don’t have to worry about updating their software regularly or staying on top of business security; cloud services routinely update and build your security by backing up your information on a regular basis, without need for your prompt or involvement.

Company data is omnipresent

A second thing you may not know about managed cloud is that company employees are able to collaborate and consult from any location. You can link the company data to any employee’s technical devices and it routinely syncs the information on its own so you don’t have to worry about saving documents, it simply does it for you with each revision or modification. Sharing theses capabilities in real-time is one of the most incredible developments in technology in recent years, and businesses are taking advantage of the perks. For instance, employees across the country do not need to be flown in for business meetings, going over spread sheets, or making changes to business plans-they can simply all modify and view the same document at the same time.

It saves business money

Thirdly, and lastly, cloud services help businesses become and stay Cloud Computing financially efficient. This can be particularly useful for smaller businesses that cannot afford to pay for many employees. Managing the IT side of businesses is complex and difficult to navigate for individuals who are not well versed in technological jargon and software applications, which is precisely why it requires skill and knowledge to successfully run this side of companies. Cloud services eliminate the need to hire an IT staff to manage software updates and security, or even analyze company data to ensure efficiency. Cloud services are excellent for people who need technology to be simplified for them. In the end, it saves businesses ample amounts of money in staff alone.

Final words

Cloud services are the wave of the future. Without it, hard copies of files are still being used worldwide. Not only do cloud services eliminate a huge amount of paperwork, helping the environment and saving our wrists from turmoil, but also they eliminate a lot of guesswork that could potentially be devastating to a business. Staying current with marketing is critical to businesses nowadays, especially if they wish to expand in the future. Cloud services are helpful for business fluency, expansion, and cost-effectiveness; it takes businesses from average to competitive with the click of a mouse.



Source by [lakajira]

Doing The Best For Your Knitting Business

Doing The Best For Your Knitting Business is what this is all about. Even though starting a knitting business doesn't require much effort, sustaining a knitting company requires lots of work and intelligence. For knitting obsessives, knitting is definitely an important element of their routine each day. Stopping these people from knitting is not advisable. Sometimes they might encounter depression when they don't get their fix! Should this description fit you, then why don't you think about starting knitting for profit and develop your personal knitting business?

The era of knitting being regarded as only a hobby is now over. Knitting companies have gained great popularity among the work at home entrepreneurs and you will find a large number of knitting success stories all around. By turning your passion to a successful knitting enterprise, you will be able to become like the other successful self employed knitters who've managed to reach great heights with their own business.

With regards to earning money knitting, imagination is really a vital tool. Without this, your knitting business might not be in a position to go far. You should use your additional time to test out new knitting patterns and items. Experiment a little and see what your customers prefer.

Honesty and trust are two important parameters in virtually any business. With regards to a knitting business, they have even more importance as your Customers will undoubtedly be wearing your knitted items at precious moments during their lives. Even though trying to sell knitting could be easy in the beginning, retaining clients and keeping on trying to sell knitted items at exactly the same rate could be a challenge. Therefore, good customer support in addition to good customer relationships are crucial if your knitting business is to survive.

With regards to trying to sell knitted items, you will find two techniques you should look at; trying to sell to individuals and trying to sell to wholesalers. If you're not proficient at marketing or you don't enjoy it, then trying to sell your knitting to wholesalers may be the wise approach to take. Irrespective of who you're trying to sell to, it is the creativity that will boost your knitting sales. In the event that you attempt to break out of the orthodox techniques and standard knitting patterns, then there's a vast potential market accessible to you out in the commercial world.

Set up a website using SEO methods to rank high in the search engines and attract lots of online visitors. If you are not familiar with website design techniques, then there are many guides available or freelancers who can help you to set up a unique looking website which will stand out. Try a backlinks service to improve your standings in the search engines and be sure to set up Twitter and Facebook fan pages so you can harness the power of social media to publicize your new products and entice any new potential customers.

In conclusion, although knitting businesses may not rank among the leading types of businesses on the planet, knitting for a profit is still a good, sustainable and affordable work at home concept which can be implemented by anybody who is enthusiastic about knitting and not afraid of a bit of hard work!



Source by [lakajira]

Business Management – Family Operations

One of the worse case scenario of family members working for a company that I've come across was that of a business I called one day. This company was both a client and a customer. As the new account manager of the organization I represented, I needed to meet their account manager who was also the owner, since we would be crossing paths many times and would be working together on a lot of projects.

After identifying myself to the receptionist who answered the phone, I asked to speak to our account manager. She said that she didn't know who that would be and asked what I wanted. I told her and she said that she could help me. Respecting the fact that she may have been more than a receptionist – we have a lot of that now with the corporate downsizing of the last decades, people sharing the telephone answering – I began to relay some information and then asked pertinent questions about equipment used in our mutual business.

After giving a couple of foolish responses and comments, I realized she was the wrong person to talk to. She got all excited and speaking of my organization she said, "Oh not again, they keep getting new people and we have to start to train them all over again, and went on and on.

I patiently said to her that she didn't have to train me, because I had been in my own graphics business for several years and was perfectly in tune with the operation. She replied, "Yea, that's what they all say". I politely asked again if I could speak to the person who looks after our account. She said she was that person. Subsequently I found out that she did the billing and thus, to her, "account" meant accounting.

I tried re-wording to "sales account", "account executive", "the sales representative who looks after this company", but it didn't do any good. To make a long story short, finally, one day I had to call on another matter and she said I would have to "talk to John". I asked her who John was and she got excited again and said, "Well, he's just John, he's John".

Since John wasn't there, I left a message for him to call me. When John called me back, that's when I found out he was our sales representative, account manager and production coordinator all rolled into one as well as the owner of the company. And then, the mystery unveiled itself as to why "John was just John" – she was his mother.

It's nice to have your mother help out but, putting her at the front desk without experience and training is a bit daring. Your whole company is judged there by visitors and callers who connect with a lot of other companies.

In another example, I was operations manager for a small company in the hotel magazine business. The receptionist was the sister of the owner of the company. She would come in late every morning after 9 o'clock. When she was approached on the matter, she would explain that it wasn't her fault, "the bus didn't arrive before 8:45. She was a very soft spoken, pleasant young girl, but she didn't believe that she should have to take the 8:30 bus. But as the sister of the owner, it was a difficult problem to deal with, since he wasn't bothered with it. In other words, she was his sister and she could come in late every morning.

Working with family members can be very difficult for both the family and non-family members. First, members of a family operation must forget they are family when they step into the business premises. They must give themselves titles with attached responsibilities. Even if they wear various hats – then have various business cards with the various titles / responsibilities. All members should be following regular training programs, even more so than any other businesses. They should treat one another in front of customers and suppliers in such a way that these people wouldn't even have a clue that they were a family team. That goes for a husband and wife operation or father / son, brother / sister, etc.

Some years ago, I was in the sailboat business with my husband – our first business when we were in our twenties. Having both been working in the corporate world prior, we would always strive to operate in a professional manner, keeping both our areas of responsibilities separate. I looked after finance and administration and my husband looked after sales and service. When visitors, customers and suppliers came in for either of these areas of business, we would take them to the one in charge.

When it comes to business management in a family operation, it is critical to make sure that the people who are placed in their positions are experienced or have been given proper training, because not only will it put stress within the company but it can ruin the total reputation of the company. Constant professional, outside training is the survival key here, more than in non-family organizations. / dmh



Source by [lakajira]

African Business Entrepreneurship: Available Opportunities For Trade And Investments

Introduction (The Culture of African Business)

Business culture is a set of non-material competences a company or individual has for resisting variability forced on it by changes in the broad market. In contrast to this, is a company's success in coming up with new ways of reinforcing its culture in the face of perpetual change. African Business Culture therefore, is the tendency to build responses to market variability and its pressures blaming it on the lack of respect for cultural nuances of a company or individual's immediate market. This sentiment at all levels has held African businesses and industries back.

What African Entrepreneurs Lack

African entrepreneurs lack proper business skills and greedy financiers have made it worse by granting unrealistic credit terms to gullible businessmen. Africa also lacks the requisite infrastructures, services and government administrations that can support a modern day business market. In Nigeria almost every person you meet on the street has some business ideas but lack the know-how to transform such ideas to a vibrant and going-concern. This is because formal services as those of Accountants, Lawyers, Human-Resource professionals as well as informal interventional services such as government programs for incubation of technology and business skills are largely lacking.

The Business Opportunities in Africa

There are five (5) major types of business opportunities in Africa. These are:

1. Agriculture: ranking first among the business opportunities available to investors and entrepreneurs in Africa, the continent is home to 60% of the world total uncultivated arable land. As the world's population is now above 7 billion, there must be a systematic approach for producing enough food to feed all. The challenge in this case has to do with poor infrastructure and trade barriers and several African governments are making substantial and useful efforts to solve these problems. Agriculture, therefore, has the potential to support other industries such as manufacturing, products marketing, fertilizer production, pesticides and seeds production, food processing and grains refining.

2. Infrastructure: this sector is second in importance only to agriculture. Though successive African governments have made efforts to improve infrastructure, a huge deficit in this sector still looms thus creating bottlenecks in the smooth running of trade, import and export activities. The World Bank in 2008 estimated that Africa needed eighty billion dollars ($ 80 billion) annually to cover infrastructure needs. This kind of financing does not come cheap and it provides an opportunity for private investors to partner with governments in the improvement of the under-performing infrastructures such as power supply, water resources, railway networks, roads and airport facilities.

3. Tourism: Kenya, Mauritius, Tanzania have become some of the world's favorite spots for tourism. Some sources anticipated over 50 million tourist arrivals for Africa in 2012 and with such a number being expected to rise naturally, hotels, resorts, airline businesses, train services, taxis, water transport and beach activities are expected to boom. There are also possibilities of foreign investors partnering with governments – to improve inland waterways or national parks.

4. Mining and Solid Minerals: deposits of mineral resources exist in several African countries in huge quantities. These mineral resources, which have remained largely unexploited due to poor mining capabilities and infrastructural facilities, are the essential components of a business sector that shows promise to support foreign direct investments. A country like Nigeria with a great variety of mineral resources has remained technically incapable due to poor financial management and planning. Interested business entrepreneurs have a chance to tap immensely into this sector.

5. Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)

It is also estimated that Africa's consumer spending in 2012 was over one trillion dollars ($ 1 trillion). With a population that is arguably the fastest growing in the world, a middle class of over three hundred million (300million) people, the FMCG sector promises to be very profitable. Foods, beverages, home and personal care products provide ample opportunity for manufacturers and retailers as their demands continue to soar. Investors who dominate this market at the first instance are likely to remain the main players for a long time.

Conclusion

As Africa on the one hand is now witnessing more conflicts and on the other experiencing good governance, the continent is set for a slow but steady path to development and growth. Several reports showed that Africa managed to grow during the world's recession of 2009 by 2%. It continued in 2010 by 4.5% and in 2011 by 5%. In 2012, it was presumed to be at least 6%. All other continents of the world apart from Asia had a negative growth during the 2009 recession. This is an eye opener to trade and investment opportunities in Africa now that the entire world has more than ever become a global village thriving on the higher values ​​of interdependence of nations rather than independence. There is no doubt that remarkable strides will be made in African Business Entrepreneurship in the coming years as long as governments of African nations continue to make sincere efforts to ensure the continent remains investor friendly and an investment fair-playing ground for all serious minded businessmen.



Source by [lakajira]

Services Provided by Offshore Call Centers

One of the most popular strategies for business owners, when it comes to customer care or telephony services, is outsourcing all tasks to offshore BPO companies. Since the biggest proportion of such companies is found in South Asia, where compared to Europe and the Americas, the currency exchange rate is the lowest, business owners in the West largely found it a good place to go for such alliances. Business owners find it cheap investing here and compared to call centers in all other parts of the world, the efficiency here remains simply incomparable. South Asia is a region where talent is endless and when so much of it gathers, competition increases and prices of the services fall.

This region has long been renowned for boasting the world's most talented people. World's top universities and colleges are usually filled with South Asians while the holders of top positions in internationally recognized examinations are also often, South Asians. Hence, the South Asian BPO industry is home to some of the world's most talented individuals. This has brought in a great deal of competition in the region, thus lowering the costs of services. Furthermore, since the currency exchange rates in this part of the world compared to Pound Sterling, Euro and Dollar are immensely cheap. What else could be the reason for South Asian contact center industry attracting business owners and entrepreneurs from all corners of the globe? The offshore industry comprises of various BPO companies who, in turn, come to provide various services.

A call center service, provided by one BPO company might be different from those of the other. These services can be divided into three major categories; Most Mature, Medium Mature and Least Mature. In the category of Most Mature services, provisions of application migration, application maintenance and management and legacy application development while under the Medium Mature category, those of enterprise application integration, business integration, new custom application development and implementation of application packages (eg ERP, CRM and SCM) can be found. In the category titled Least Mature, services such as business process outsourcing (BPO), ERP services, infrastructure outsourcing, remote network management, embedded software, call centers, and technical services, product engineering. This is however the most typical classification of answering services and not necessarily all these services might be found as such from a particular BPO company.

Services may vary and to find the best package for themselves, the business owners will have to first survey their requirements and then look out which BPO company offers the most suitable package. Usually, inbound services would include: customer service, handling call overflow, support lines, 24-Hrs help desk and technical support, phone answering, emergency and direct response, order hotlines, consumer response, claims processing, order taking, product technical information and web receptionist. Outbound services would include database selling, market intelligence, lead generation / qualification / management, direct mail follow-up, seminar population, debt collection, product promotion, info & literature fulfillment, decision maker contacts, appointment scheduling, up sell / cross sell campaigns , customer satisfaction, surveys.



Source by [lakajira]

Grow Your Restoration Business With Air Duct Cleaning Services

Many restoration contractors are looking for ways to grow and expand their business. It makes sense to consider a service that has good long-term potential, a service that compliments existing services, a service that is not difficult to enter and a service that offers good profitability. Air duct cleaning is just such a service.

The concern and need for good indoor air quality and better energy efficiency will probably never go away, so the market for air duct cleaning should stay strong for a long time. Plus, many fire and mold contaminated restoration projects need the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system cleaned and coated. Duct cleaning / coating is a good way to expand a restoration business and get benefits like:

  • Excellent gross profit margins (40% to 60%).
  • Significant add-on revenues with existing clients.
  • Ability to attract new customers.
  • More diversification can help during challenging economic conditions.
  • Eliminating scheduling and quality control issues sometimes associated with using a subcontractor.
  • Easy integration with your existing business systems (estimating, marketing, accounting, etc.).

There are many questions restoration contractors have regarding this service. Some of these are:

What is air duct cleaning?

Duct cleaning is more than cleaning air ducts. A more appropriate term to use would be "HVAC system cleaning." The HVAC system includes everything in the air stream. The goal is to remove all the accumulated dirt, debris and other contaminates found in the system. This is called source removal. A basic list of cleaning tasks for residential air duct cleaning include:

  • Visual inspection before and after cleaning.
  • Remove, clean and replace supply air vents and return air grilles.
  • Install access openings as needed and then re-seal after cleaning.
  • Clean supply air ductwork.
  • Clean return air ductwork.
  • Clean the blower / motor assembly in the furnace.
  • Clean the air stream side of the heat exchanger.
  • Clean the secondary heat exchanger if present.
  • Clean evaporator coil and drain pan.
  • Wash air cleaner if present
  • Replace air filter
  • Coat the ductwork if needed.

What equipment is needed?

In generic terms a typical equipment package to inspect, clean and decontaminate a HVAC systems include:

  • Vacuum collection system to put the ductwork under suction.
  • Agitation and cleaning tools like power brushing systems, air washing / whipping systems.
  • HEPA filtered wet / dry vacuums for contact vacuuming.
  • Air compressor.
  • Duct accessing tools and service panels.
  • Visual inspection system or digital camera.
  • Sanitizer and fogger, coil cleaner, etc.
  • Equipment for applying coatings like cart or robotic spray systems and a commercial airless sprayer.
  • Personal safety equipment
  • Miscellaneous items like hand tools, drop cloths, ladders, etc.
  • Plus, a truck or trailer to transport the equipment.

What does it cost to add air duct cleaning services?

The cost to add air duct cleaning services will be determined by the type of services you want to offer (residential or commercial or both), the type of equipment you select and the level of cleaning and what services you want to offer.

For residential, a basic equipment package will cost from $ 6,000.00 to $ 7,500.00. For commercial, a basic package will cost from $ 9,500.00 to $ 12,000.00. Additionally, for coating ductwork you would need a spray cart or robotic system and an airless sprayer. Equipment suppliers can typically give you several options to choose from that will best fit your needs and budget.

Summary:

Air duct cleaning offers many benefits to the Fire / Water / Mold Restoration Contractor that can help to expand and strengthen their business plus, it is relatively an easy add-on.



Source by [lakajira]

5 Home-Based Business Opportunities With No Startup Cost

A home-based business is any kind of business run from the comfort of your house. Most businesses operated from home normally start as small enterprises and finally change into medium companies or into large enterprises. Starting a home-based business is a dream for many people around the world. Unlike in the past where the startup costs associated with starting a home-based business prevented many people from joining this great industry, today there are many different home-based business opportunities with no startup cost.

These wonderful opportunities have smoothed the playing ground permitting many people to enjoy the economic success. However, you should be ready and willing to invest your time and effort needed to operate the business. The main reason why most people want to supplement their current job or replace it altogether is that they want to be independent, want to spend more time with family and would like to have control of their lives. If you are looking for opportunities to supplement your present income, below are 5 home-based business opportunities with no startup cost.

1. Online teaching

If you are a graduate, you can start an online teaching job from your home.There are several online colleges and universities looking for online teachers. Some of the qualifications include teaching experience and a degree in the field you are willing to teach. You will then be provided with a list and a timetable to choose several classes to teach at a time you think is perfect for you. However, you will need to understand their teaching method to be able to satisfy the needs and expectations of the students. The process of online teaching is similar to a typical school. As a teacher, it is your duty to look after your students. Your students will have to submit test papers through emails by a specific date. Your main task is to observe the work submitted by the students so that they do not find their answers by searching online.

If you are looking for a long-term home-based job, online teaching is one of the best opportunities. It offers good money, great benefits and is an exciting job to make money online sitting at home. In fact, it is considered as one of the best home-based jobs.

2. Freelancer writing

If you love writing, you can turn your talent into a home-based freelance writing business. There is a high demand for good writers worldwide. Many organizations are looking for people to look to write content for their websites, blogs, eBooks, advertisements, articles, and reports.

To start an online freelancing writing business, you need to decide what you are going to write about. Choose your style and topic and see if there is a demand for it. If you do not like a particular topic, there are chances that you will struggle to be motivated and probably you will not be able to give your client the best. The most important thing is to focus on a particular niche. This is because when you specialize in a certain field, you will be able to offer your best service and a chance to make good money. Writing is in the field of art, and just like most arts, there is a room for improvement. To improve your writing skills, read books, sign-up for writing courses, and understand your niche inside and out.

3. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a business of promoting and selling products and services manufactured by other companies. This opportunity is probably the easiest home-based business. You are referred as an affiliate because you are only associated with the product or service you are selling but not part of the company that produced it. When you sell the product, you are paid a commission by the owner of the product. However, you will be required to find the right product or service to offer to the right customers at the right time. This means you need some knowledge of the field to be able to reap the benefits.
Some of the things you need to start an affiliate home-based business include, a website or a blog, website content and probably an email list.

4. Fitness online teaching

If you have a passion for teaching people who want to lose weight, stay fit and get into a good physical shape, then you can start a fitness online teaching business. Today, a good number of people are looking for personal trainers to get them in shape. Being a fitness online teacher does not mean you must be employed at a local gym or a workout center to build your client base. You can teach people about fitness at the comfort of your home. However, you must stay in shape and always maintain a casual-level of fitness if you are going to use videos when teaching your clients.

When starting a fitness online teaching business, you will need a blog or a website to promote your services, website content so that your clients can be able to trust your opinions and thoughts, and valuable giveaways to make your clients come back for more.

5. Tax preparation service

Every individual or business that earns income in any country must prepare their taxes. It does not matter whether the economy is busting or booming, every person should prepare his or her taxes. This means tax preparation service is a great business opportunity. However, you will need to promote your business to the targeted customers and always be up-to-date to the annual tax changes. But the financial benefits of achievement as a home-based tax preparer are amazing.

Some of the things you need before starting this kind of business include: registering as a tax preparer, designating a work-space in your home, familiarize yourself with numerous professional tax preparation software, registering your business, and identifying and marketing your business to target clients.

Conclusion

There so many legitimate home-based business opportunities with no startup cost and this information represents an overview of different opportunities. Getting the right home-based online business for you can be existing, however, you need be on the lookout for possible scams. Understand your passion and spend some time researching, and you will be able to find the right home-based online business opportunity that meets your desires.



Source by [lakajira]

How Microsoft Is Demystifying Business Intelligence With Their Self Service BI Tools

The term business intelligence (usually known simply as BI) covers a wide range of analytic disciplines and technologies which allow business owners and analysts to acquire and transform corporate information, and then to produce useful reports and data visualizations. These visualizations (which can take the form of dashboards, scorecards, charts, maps, etc.) can then be made available to stakeholders in need of timely information to enable them to make better business decisions.

The need for self-service BI

Traditionally, when the term BI was used, it meant enterprise-wide business intelligence, major projects and timescales, and significant costs. The tools used in BI projects were expensive and required a fair amount of technical expertise to implement.

As the explosion of online business transactions make businesses more complex in their operational structures, the need for constant up-to-date reporting has made the traditional BI model less than ideal. Business people now need to be able to access corporate data and produce the reports and visualizations they need, without having to rely on IT. The solution to this dilemma has been the development of self-service BI; the DIY approach to business intelligence.

The self-service BI model frees up IT professionals to focus on complex back-end development tasks by allowing users themselves to create the analytical queries, reports and visualizations they need. However, if it is to be successful, it is important that the tools which are used be fairly easy for a non-specialist to master. This is where Microsoft have a huge edge over their competitors: they own Microsoft Excel.

Excel has an extremely wide user base and, because of its lightweight and flexible nature, it is as relevant to an engineer as to a statistician; in short, everybody uses Excel. It is therefore not surprising that Microsoft's self-service BI tools are based around the core functionality of Microsoft Excel.

Microsoft Power BI

The Microsoft product which best fits the self-service BI label is called Power BI for Office 365. It is a cloud-based enterprise product which, as the name suggests integrates with the cloud version of Microsoft Office. It uses a SharePoint back-end, with the concept of Power BI sites, to enable collaboration and allow users to easily share reports and visualizations with their colleagues.

Another key aspect of Power BI is the support it provides for users to access data using a variety of devices. Basically, any device that supports HTML 5 can now be used to view a Power BI site.

Power BI provides its core analytic functionality via four key Microsoft Excel add-ins: Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View, and Power Map.

Power Query

The Power Query add-in allows you to connect to a wide variety of data sources both within your organization and online; and design very flexible and sophisticated rules for the transformation and refinement of the data that is being retrieved. For example, you might create a query which combines data from two different sources; either by taking some columns from source A and some from source B, or by appending records from source B to the end of source A. Whatever transformations you apply to the query, each time the data source is refreshed, these same transformation rules will always be reapplied.

Power Query even features its own query language, simply called M. As you use the query editor and apply transformations to the data, Power Query automatically generates the necessary statements. However, if you have the time and the inclination to get your head around the syntax, you can also write your own M statements.

Power Pivot

Power Pivot, which has been available as a separate add-in since Excel 2010, is now integrated into Excel and plays the central role in Microsoft's self-service BI solution. It allows you to create a data model, using data from disparate sources, either imported using Power Pivot itself or using Power Query.

Power Pivot allows you to create relationships between different tables, as well as defining key performance indicators and hierarchies for use in pivot tables, making life easier both for yourself and for colleagues needing these features for their reports.

Power View

Power View is used for interactive exploration of your data and for creating visualizations, reports and presentations. The Power View interface will seem familiar to Excel users, since it closely resembles the interface used when creating pivot tables. Each report you generate is called a view and typically focuses on one particular aspect of your data using one of the available visualization types, such as a table, chart or map.

Power View also features a full screen presentation mode, very similar to a PowerPoint slide show, where navigation buttons allow you to move between the various views.

Power Map

The Power Map add-in provides 3-D visualization of geographical and time-based data, either on a globe or on a custom map. It also allows you to create tours which illustrate changes over time; for example, the gradual increase in sales in a particular country. These tours can be played in Excel or you can even save them as videos and upload them to your corporate YouTube channel.

It is the custom map feature, in particular, that makes Power Map so useful; because this allows you to truly personalize your visualizations. The custom map could show the layout of a store, a close-up of a product, the human body, a football pitch; anything that you needed to use to illustrate your particular data.

In Conclusion

The speed, flexibility and democratization offered by self-service BI looks set to make it the norm, gradually replacing slower and more expensive enterprise-wide BI projects. While Microsoft are not the only players in the self-service BI market, the central role played by Microsoft Excel in most people's computer usage gives them an unrivalled edge over the competition.



Source by [lakajira]

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